Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
We’re back in Rio at the Mango Tree, this time taking a taxi direct from the bus station to the hostel. The German girl working there greets us again for the third time and we see the same staff cleaning and preparing breakfast that we did 10.5mths earlier. Its approaching evening and the sun is setting so we walk the main road of tree lined streets and retail boutiques before coming across a sushi restaurant. Just what we need!
After a plate of hand-rolls and gyoza’s washed down with an ice cold brava we are ready to return to the hostel for a few famous caipirinhas. They ensure you have a great night sleep with the highly potent cachaça. We talk to the young Brazilian surfer behind the bar that’s saving up his money to come to Australia, just for the waves. His dream? to rent a van and drive around the coast meeting the pretty girls and heading to the beach. “But isn’t the north coast waves in Brazil some of the best in the world?” we ask. But his tired of what he has in his own backyard and is desperately seeking that “something different”. We wonder if he will ever make it on his pitiful wage. The owner of the hostel is Wayne from Melbourne who seems to spend his time at the bar teasing his Brazilian beauties that parade in high cut shorts. Probably in his late 30s we overhear some of the crazy stories of partying around the world drinking and drugging it up with his mates before landing in Rio and starting up the hostel. A colorful life.
We have two full days to kill before heading back out to the airport to catch our 2am flight. So we walk Ipanema promenade admiring the spectacular looking city. We wonder the streets viewing jewelry shops, clothes shops and pick at in-expensive coffee shops and our favorite local resto-bar for one more chicken sandwich, beans and rice, as if we haven’t had enough. Time flies and we depart for the airport at 10.30pm, driving through the city scape, favelas and wave goodbye to Christ the Redeemer perched on the sugar loaf mountains. And after four hours of waiting in a bland airport, we finally board our night flight that takes us over the ocean and the African continent back to the Emirates some 13 hours later.
It is a surreal feeling that we have left Latin America after all this time. To think we have traveled the continent, mostly all by overland, around its outside rim, looping Central America and cutting back through the Caribbean islands to the heart of Brazil. The territory crossed has been immense and we both feel utterly contempt with the journey. Its a huge achievement for us both, one that not many people take on and probably even few complete. So we can happily leave the Americas for now, with no regrets and wonder if or when we will return.